Saturday, May 25, 2013

E-Cat: fool me n-times.....

The E-Cat keeps returning. Initially I had found it intriguing, then sort of fun (also here). Eventually, I had lost all interest in this ever-repeating story of unverified and unverifiable claims.

However, the recent publication on ArXiv of a series of tests on a new version of the E-Cat has generated a flurry of questions arriving into my mailbox. So I figure I could briefly comment on this subject, here.

Basically, the new ArXiv report is nothing new: it is the same style and substance of earlier reports from Rossi. It is true that it has at least a veneer of scientific correctness, but it falls apart after just a cursory examination. The new tests have the same problems of the earlier ones: poor experimental set-up, inadequate instrumentation, lack of reproducibility, and, more than all, the impossibility for external observers to verify the characteristics of the experimental set-up.

If you want to read an in depth criticism of these latest results, you can look at the post by Ethan Siegel of "Starts with a Bang". If Rossi and his followers want to revolutionize physics, they have to do way better than this.

Now, as I said, the story of the E-Cat keeps repeating itself. This is the n-th claim of success of a long series that has led to nothing verifiable and that has become rather boring. What's not boring in the story is the question of why these claims find so much resonance with people everywhere. It is important to understand this point, because our survival in the coming decades depends on whether we'll find good solutions for the problems we face; from mineral depletion to climate change. And good solutions need good science. Let's not forget that.



  1. you should erad thomas khun

    and understand what is happening to you...

    people in business don't agree with your position...they have more to lose if they are wrong, than you if you are wrong.

    best regards
    -- alainco- the techwatcher of lenr-forum

    1. "people in business don't agree with your position...they have more to lose if they are wrong, than you if you are wrong."

      Bonjour Alain,
      Malheureusement, cela ne prouve rien.

    2. You know, Alain, I never said that "people in business" should agree with me. On the contrary, I strongly encourage those who disagree with me to buy from Mr. Rossi one of his machines. If I am wrong, they'll make a good business, if I am right, they'll have learned a lot about physics, at least.

    3. history will say, but after 3 reports, 180 PR papers, and many condition of LENR identified, my bet is easy... The question is not scientific, but business.
      it will be hard and bloody.
      Rossi's engineering is not finished as show the melting...
      about fraud claims, it should make people laugh like 9/11 conspiracies... some people don't understand the human factor, and the risk of stage magic when you don't control the stage...
      It is the third report of independent blackbox testing, done with relative freedom, for a third company.

      try to look at the landscape and not focus on the lily :

      anyway kuhn shows that it happens so normally... the paradigm impose what is looked at, and prevent to look elsewhere to find evidences...

    4. Sure, Alain, you can wait as long as you like.

  2. Dott Ugo Bardi
    Lei ha fatto una campagna chiarificatrice su tutta la vicenda e-cat e io l ho seguita con fervore e consenso.
    Attualmente mi da da pensare e pertanto ho cominciato ad informarmi sulle sue attività
    Son arrivato alla conclusione che ha perfettamente ragione a descrivere in modo negativo l e-cat dal suo punto di vista..
    Capisco di aver sbagliato ,perchè questo è un blog per altre energie alternative

  3. ad esser sinceri non avevo scritto in quel modo da gallina con maiuscole e altre cose un pò strane ,comunque con buona volontà si può capire
    sempre che non venga storpiato anche questo intervento

  4. bello è stato storpiato anche il secondo intervento
    vediamo questo come esce

  5. If Andrea Rossi is perpetrating some years long , hard-to-understand scam, what is the motive? How does he expect to make any money or get anything of value out of this? And what anout Defkalion Green Technologies, Brillioun Energy and 5 or 6 other contenders? Are they all perpetrating scams or seeking attention? Why does Mr. Bardi fail to address motives and Rossi'l competitors in the LENR field? Why does Mr. Bardi treat Andrea Rossi as if he is the only one who researching LENR phenomena when there are hundreds of scientific papers on the subject written by dozens of highly qualified scientists all testifying to anomolous heat? Why?, Why?

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  7. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me n-times, am I fuc*ing idiot? :-)

    1. It was my initial idea for the title......

    2. errare humanum est, perseverare diabolocum.

      the problem is who is wrong, and evidence are clear, even if theory does not match.

      take the good pil please. it start to be ridiculous.

    3. You said it well: it really starts to be ridiculous (actually, it has been ridiculous for quite a while, by now)

    4. prof. Bardi, grazie ancora per la sua battaglia contro la pseudoscienza. Purtroppo diventano sempre di meno le voci che mettono in guardia il grande pubblico dalle pericolose derive populiste e antiscientifiche. Lei è un professore universitario di chiara fama e senza interessi nascosti da difendere. Dovrebbe bastare questo penso per non far dubitare del suo sincero interesse nella vicenda. Non le sembra comunque il caso di prendere opportuni e tempestivi provvedimenti, magari proponendo leggi ad hoc, al fine di "silenziare" (come direbbe l'ex presidente del consiglio Mario Monti) una volta per tutte questi focolai dei "truffatori della scienza parallela" (come direbbe il prorettore Giancarlo Ruocco) ?

    5. (sorry for this answer in Italian - but this comment from a little dumb troll deserves it).

      Allora, caro trollino del piffero, non credere che non abbia capito chi sei e che cosa vuoi con questo commento del piffero. Te lo passo solo per farti capire che non mi freghi di certo con questi trucchetti. Ma ti sembra davvero di essere tanto furbo? Ma via......

    6. For those of you who don't speak Italian, let me explain. This little troll invites me to agree with him that specific national laws should enacted to "silence" once for all these scammers of "parallel science" (!!)

      No, seriously: does he really think anyone would fall for this trick? How dumb can these people be?

    7. Dear prof. Bardi, I agree with you:

      If what you say is true then I am only "a little dumb troll",

      but if e-cat works and it's not a joke, then you deserve a much heavier label.

      I hope that you agree with me from this point of view

    8. It will be hard to shut up :
      ENEA, Navy SPAWAR, Navy Research Labs, BARC, CEA, CNAM, SRI, UniMizzou...
      and now dirty capitalists like SAIPEM, National Instruments, ST microelectronics,

      there is a moment when blindness is visible.

    9. For the anonymous troll. Yes, I agree with you: you are dumb

    10. For for Alain Coetmeur: didn't I say from start that this story had become boring? You stated your opinion, and that's all right. Now, how many times do you want to go on repeating the same things?

  8. Ugo, there's one thing I don't understand. Why do all those other folks from the University of Uppsala etc. lend their name to this. I'm assuming they are legitimate scientists with a reputation to uphold, of course.

    1. Yes, it is hard to believe that they would accept to make those measurements of output without the possibility of checking what was the input. But we are all human and emotion is a strong element in determining what we do and what we believe in. Even in climate, a small number of serious scientists still don't believe that greenhouse forcing is the main driver of climate change today. It is physiological - I think.

    2. of some have difficulties:
      - to accept fact when they contracict theories (AGW is the main paradigm today)
      - to accept uncertainties when they need forecasts (yet cannot)

      good point,
      very good point.
      talk about that to Judith Curry and Robert Duncan...

      bothe were living in the old mainstream paradigm and get convinced ...
      not by hope of glory ...
      but by facts...

      this is where thomas kuhn theory is clear : facts cannot be seen if the contradict the paradigm.

      I can show you an elephant in your living room, you won't see it if you expect a cocktail.

    3. "without the possibility of checking what was the input"

      Mr Bardi, you are just spreading lies, input energy has been measured. I hope they will start a lawsuit against you

    4. NevenMay 26, 2013 at 4:40 AM

      "I'm assuming they are legitimate scientists with a reputation to uphold,..."

      Incorrect assumption. Brian Josephson destroyed his own reputation years ago; he believes in parapsychology, mental telepathy and homeopathy. In the immortal word of Elizabeth Halsey, "hopeless".

  9. Brillouin Energy Corporation
    Defkalion Green Technologies
    Etiam Inc
    JET Energy, Inc.
    Lattice Energy LLC
    LENR Cars Sàrl
    Leonardo Corp.
    NanoSpire, Inc.
    NicHenergy SRL

    According to Ugo Bardi, all of the above companies are each trying to perpetrate some sort of scam. What scam? How could they all hope to make money by pulling the same kind of wool over a gullible public?

    And if these indeed are all scams, isn't that in itself just a little bit interesting? It is not as if these companies are each peddling their own unique free energy scam - they are ALL of them trying to foist the same exact energy scam. Does no one else ponder this strange conclusion and find it a reductio absurdum argument?

    If they are all simply mistaken, isn't this in itself highly interesting?

    No. This is ridiculous. The truth is that critics like Ugo Bardi must focus ONLY upon Rossi's E-Cat so that they might make him out to be a lone nut. And forget asking bardi how Rossi's scam is supposed to pay off - he will obviously never answer that one. Because then he would have to explain how all these OTHER scam operators are plotting to make money off of their own LENR scams.

    1. and there are more
      plus organisations linked to state, army,
      plus dissenters like Robert Duncan (who have a job to lose)...

      elephant in the livingroom.

      Or it is an alien conspiracy... or Chemtrail impact. ;-)

    2. Well, it seems that you still see this story as something interesting and fun. Good for you. I did, too; until it became really too much.

    3. It's too late Mr Bardi for leaving the field saying that you "had lost all interest in this ever-repeating story". Now you must face to the consequences of your actions, you have bespattered absolutely respectable researchers. Shame on you!

    4. "it became really too much"
      Did you mean "really too much evidence against my very narrow minded point of view" ?

    5. Just one question, anonymous: if you think you are so right, why are are you so angry?

  10. Below is an example of a well-written article on LENR. Rossi's E-Cat and everyone else's devices can then be evaluated in light of the larger picture:

    "Scientists Must Look At The Nuclear Weak Force To Understand LENR" May 7, 2013

    Google it. Anyone who doesn't find this stuff interesting has got some serious blinkers on.

  11. The problem (the reluctance of academia) is that the current atomic model does not allow such things as LENR. People forget that this model is something artificial, invented to ease the understanding of some well-known phenomena. It is not the REAL atom, it is a model (= an approximation of the reality).

    1. @ezotech
      it's incredible that this simple, clear and important concept is not understood by so many "professors"

      A scientific community cannot practice its trade without some set of espoused beliefs (pp. 4)
      These beliefs form the foundation of the “educational initiation that prepares and licenses the student for professional practice” (pp. 5)
      The nature of the “rigorous and rigid” preparation helps ensure that these beliefs exert a “deep hold” on the student’s mind. (pp. 5)

      Normal science is “predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like” – scientists take great pains to defend that assumption. (pp. 5)
      It is the "activity in which most scientists inevitably spend almost all their time" (pp. 5).
      It often suppresses fundamental novelties because they are necessarily subversive of its basic commitments. (pp. 5)

      Research is a strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education (pp. 5)

      A shift in professional commitments to shared assumptions takes place when an anomaly “subverts the existing tradition of scientific practice” (pp. 6).
      These shifts are what Kuhn describes as scientific revolutions – “the tradition shattering complement to the tradition-bound activity of normal science” (pp. 6)
      New theories require the reconstruction of prior assumptions and the reevaluation of prior facts, an intrinsically revolutionary process that is seldom completed by a single man and never overnight. (pp. 7)
      When a shift takes place, “a scientist’s world is qualitatively transformed (and) quantitatively enriched by fundamental novelties of either fact or theory (pp. 7)

      In responding to these crises, scientists generally do not renounce the paradigm that has led them into crisis.
      They may lose faith and consider alternatives, but
      they generally do not treat anomalies as counterinstances of expected outcomes.
      They devise numerous articulations and ad hoc modifications of their theory in order to eliminate any apparent conflict.
      Some, unable to tolerate the crisis (and thus unable to live in a world out of joint), leave the profession.
      As a rule, persistent and recognized anomaly does not induce crisis (pp. 81).
      Failure to achieve the expected solution to a puzzle discredits only the scientist and not the theory ("it is a poor carpenter who blames his tools").
      Science is taught to ensure confirmation-theory.
      Science students accept theories on the authority of teacher and text—what alternative do they have, or what competence?
      because I know you did not read it.
      but I imagine you cannot see it either...

  12. Grants and cash flow from investors are better than nothing. How many scientists/universities are now living off of them? Too many! Energy scams are everywhere as the desperation sets in.

  13. A bit of simple physics. The E-Cat is supposed to release energy by the fusion of hydrogen and nickel into copper. Natural nickel is composed of two stable isotopes, Ni-58 (69%) and Ni-60 (26%), plus about 5% of the three other isotopes. Add a hydrogen atom, and you get Cu-59 and Cu-61, both of which are unstable and will decay back into nickel (in 80 sec or 3 hr respectively). In other words, the claimed reaction is physically impossible.

    Natura locuta, causa finita.

    1. The claim of copper seems abandoned...
      And anyway we don't care if it is impossible, because it produce heat...

      On the opposite I start to be concerned about public opinion on scientific points, where we have many claims backed by nice theories, but denied by facts. Each time the theory and the model win over the facts.

      LENR is just the opposite dysfunction.

      If you are interested on the evidences of transmutations, there is a review by Miley...
      there should be other elements cited by Ed Storms review in natirwissenschaften.
      Defkalion published some XRF results in his ICCF17 paper, but the most interesting par is missing (light elements). They have build a real-time analyzer to try understand what is happening... Maybe they will give some results at ICCF18.

      anyway, using theoretical arguments to deny experiments is the wrong way... yet the way of our time, where theory is more valued than measures.

    2. Alain, many thanks for your reply. I was unaware that the claim of Ni + H -> Cu has been abandoned, and would be most interested in learning what their new claim is for how the thing works.

      I was trained as a scientist, and would never cling to theory in the face of experimental fact. But - if I may be blunt - what we have seen is not experiments, but demonstrations. The former are designed to elicit knowledge, and the latter to elicit money. For which reason, I respectfully stand by my skepticism.

    3. the fact is that no theory works.
      time is to start with a phenomenological model, and Defkalion seems to have one...

      if you think that theory is needed to innovate, read "antifragile" by nassim nicholas taleb.

      theory have plagued LENR in all camp. denial, false assumption, pet theories... all BS.

      it even prevented most LENR scientist to try NiH reaction because H+H does not produce He4...

      From the data of Defkalion it seems that the NiH reaction involve light elements, and few accidental heavier reaction (absorption, decay)... some sau H+H+H+H->4H->He4 (Brillouin). Takahashi imagine thetrahedral reaction.... hum...

      Defkalion say it is multi-stage and not unique cause... nhum...

      not yet the problem.
      what we know from experiments it is that it produce heat, He4, few irradiation, soft gamma (30-500keV) and in bad condition (starting, bad mix) tritium, neutrons,harder gamma... but few...

      so it is safe, yet have to avoid some reaction working point... like avoiding the smoke on a gas stove.

  14. Ugo Bardi, You really are both arrogant and sad to make your ad hominem attacks against Andrea Rossi. Nothing new of course. Academia was certain flight was impossible and told anyone who would listen that was definitely the case for three years after the Wright Bros first flew.

    Apart from the scientific proof, of which there is now plenty, there is only unproven speculation of how Rossi could have cheated.
    If you consider that Rossi sold his business for about 1 million Euro (public domain) why on earth would he blow that on making an elaborate fraud instead of retiring?

    He is not selling anything to naieve small investors. Large customers will do their own due diligence unless they are very stupid. So who are you "protecting"?

    If you can't see the difference between seven professors running two 100 hour tests under their control and the early demos run and controlled by Rossi, I doubt anyone can make you see the light.

    There are hundreds of peer reviewed papers here showing that LENR and anomalous heat are real no matter what you learned as a boy. Possibly you will find this "boring" as well. There are new discoveries you know.

    1. If Rossi really is selling to big investors (which ones?), then so much the worse for Rossi.

      I've seen the future, baby - it's lawsuits.



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome and the author of "Extracted: how the quest for mineral resources is plundering the Planet" (Chelsea Green 2014)